MACAU security authorities have criticised the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for unilaterally issuing an unverified statement that high-profile fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or better known as Jho Low, is “hiding” in Macau.
On Tuesday (May 30), Al Jazeera quoted a MACC spokesman as saying the agency believed that Jho Low and other individuals wanted over the 1MDB scandal were currently in Macau.
MACC said that Low’s whereabouts were confirmed by several individuals who claimed to have seen him in the city, Al Jazeera reported.
However, in the wake of the news report, Macau’s Office of the Secretary for Security (GSS) said that the office was “bewildered” and “shocked” to learn about the Malaysian anti-corruption watchdog’s claims.
In a statement issued on Wednesday (May 31), the Macau security authorities said that the Malaysian law enforcement agency had “completely violated international norms” by “releasing unverified information” instead of seeking assistance from its Macau counterpart to corroborate the information in compliance with international protocol.
The GSS also emphasised that Macau police are prohibited by law from disclosing any personal information, and can only cooperate with other countries and regions in accordance with international law and norms.
“This is a principle that Macau must uphold as an international city and a society governed by the rule of law,” the GSS said.
The GSS then reiterated its previous denial from 2020, when it had also denied Jho Low was hiding in Macau.
Bradley Hope, the co-author of the Billion Dollar Whale chronicling the 1MDB saga, dismissed the idea that Low is in Macau and said it is believed the latter is under house arrest in Shanghai instead.
“Low was in Macau a lot from 2015-2018, as well as Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Thailand but after Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s electoral defeat, his movements were more restricted to the mainland,” said Hope on Twitter, adding that China is holding Low on a tight leash because of negotiations with Malaysia.
An Interpol Red Notice for Jho Low was approved and issued in 2018. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said last year that efforts to track the fugitive down were ongoing.
Jho Low has been charged in Malaysia and in the United States, and is also wanted in a few other countries, over allegations that he orchestrated the theft of US$4.5 bil from 1MDB. Beijing previously denied protecting the fugitive financier. – June 2, 2023
Main pic credit: BBC